Here’s a story by the artist-
I check the oil in my car all the time, like a ritual. And even though it is a ritual, I never remember to have a piece of cloth, or a paper towel to wipe the dip stick on. I look around the parking lot for a piece of paper on the ground. Today it was Clarance Washington’s spelling test. Clarance is in the sixth grade. His spelling is almost as bad as mine is. His whole personality was clearly reflected in his test paper. The sheet is covered with red corrections and yet he writes. “I love doing my homework.”
He has to make up a sentence using the word popcorn. He starts to write “I love buttery”, but he can’t figure out how to spell buttery, so he crosses it out. Then he can see that his teacher will see his misspelling, so he crosses it out again even harder.
I’m not making this up at all. The paper is right here on my table. I didn’t use it for the oil. It plunged me for a moment back into my own childhood. I labored over my homework and tried to make it perfect to no avail. Why, if I could have engraved my homework I would have, if I could have gilded it I would have done that also. Anything, anything I could think of to please them.
-Richard Britell 2020
Every so often Mr Britell returns to making a series such as this, of mathematical equations as art. As we know, math and art have occasionally crossed paths through the ages, think da Vinci, Dürer, Escher. This artist’s seemingly ordinary take on this confluence feels ancient yet contemporary, beautiful but not, with titles and equations such as “The Square Root of 2”, “37 to 54 (the difficult years)” and “88 + 1 = 89”. These new works comprise a dozen or so small, brilliant, sgraffito paintings on canvas.
Richard Britell, career painter, studied at Pratt Institute with Philip Pearlstein and Walter Erlebacher. His first show in NYC at Staempfli Gallery was sold out, and reviewed in the New York Times. The artist currently lives in Pittsfield, MA.
Lauren Clark Fine Art is located at 684 Main Street Great Barrington, MA. Business hours are Thursday through Monday from 11:00 until 5:00 and Sunday from Noon until 4:00. For more information call 413.528.0432